Tackling poverty would enrich the whole of Scottish society

2 October 2018

Tackling poverty and inequality would enrich the whole of Scottish society, according to a leading public health expert.

Best-selling author Professor Kate Pickett outlined how inequality is a factor in increased levels of stress, depression and anxiety in the general population, as she delivered the 2018 Challenge Poverty Week lecture at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Ms Pickett, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of York, is the co-author of The Spirit Level, which was chosen as one of the Top Ten Books of the Decade by the New Statesman.

The Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit at GCU and the Poverty Alliance co-hosted the lecture, entitled The Need For a Wellbeing Economy in Scotland, which drew on her latest work, The Inner Level.

Professor Pickett, who displayed evidence that countries with more inequality have higher levels of narcissism, addictive behaviours and social interaction, said: "We are all poorer when inequality is greater. We are all enriched when inequality is reduced.

“We’ve known for some time that more unequal societies suffer from a host of social ills including higher rates of crime and poor health and that this affects the whole of society, not just those living in poverty."

Policy experts, campaigners, and academics gathered for the lecture, which is one of more than 120 events and activities planned for Challenge Poverty Week.

Professor Stephen Sinclair, co-director of the Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit at GCU, said: “Professor Pickett has helped push the issue of the harmful effects of inequality to the forefront of government policy across the world.

"Reducing inequality is in everyone’s interest and is everyone’s responsibility - a more equal society is for the common good.”

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, added: "This week is an opportunity for groups and organisations across Scotland to highlight the role they play in addressing poverty, as well as building the case for more action to address the causes and consequences of poverty."

- Picture by Alastair Kingsbury